Data From My Year As A Nomad
money | sleep
Last April, Mark Moschel decided to embark on a nomadic, wandering, and homeless journey. He decided to spend a year as a nomad. He had no real reason but was curious to collect data to reflect on it afterwards. In this talk, Mark shares some of his data from being a nomad for 365 days.
Google Calendar | Notes
My name’s Mark Moschel, so I’ll be sharing some of my data from my year as a nomad. So last April I moved out of my apartment and decided not to get a new place and just kind of decided what it would be like to not have a home.
So I went from having this really comfortable memory foam mattress that you can see my dog Ajax really likes, to the prospect of sleeping most nights on couches. And if you’re anything like my mom’s friends you probably want to know why did you do this. And I had a handful of reasons, and I was really curious to collect the data to see to kind of reflect on it afterwards and see how it affected concerns that I had like can I be healthy, can I be productive still, how well will I sleep. Stuff like that, and how much will I spend.
So here’s where I went and because of the time zone and work I had to stay fairly close to home, so I spent a good amount of time in Chicago still, Denver, San Francisco, and for those of you who were at my talk yesterday, Ecuador.
And here’s how I tracked it. So I just used Google Calendar to record where I slept every night and a couple of other notes, and a bunch of passive tracking time like Rescue Time, Mint, Sleep Cycle and Inside Tracker to track data in the background.
So in total, I slept in 52 different beds in 27 different places and breaking that down a little further, that's most nights. Fortunately, was actually on a bed it turned out, 281 nights on a bed, so 67 nights on a couch and a handful on air mattresses, floors, and seats. And most of the time I was fortunate to stay with a friend or 92 nights in AirBnB.
Towards the end, I started staying at my office and I only occasionally at an airport or bus stop. So in the year I had roughly 43 different roommates, which was really cool because you kind of realize one of the things I learned was just how differently people live, and so much different lifestyles that I was living back in Chicago. And as an even better side effect, I got to have 15 pets this year, including a hamster which was a first. Mr. Goldenpants up there in the top right, so that was fun.
So I used sleep cycle to track how I slept in each of these different places. And one of the interesting things I learned is that no matter how I broke up the data, whether it was on a bed, or on a couch or in Chicago or at an AirBnB, it always ended up averaging always to being about the same. So no matter where I was, I slept roughly the same throughout the entire year.
But Sleep Cycle also calculates steps and one of the things that was different is that I’m definitely a more active person when I’m outside of Chicago. I’m kind of a bum when I’m in Chicago, which makes sense. I’m exploring a new city, hiking a lot more, more time outside.
Meditation was another habit I was trying to track, and one thing I learned from this graph is that the people I was with really impacted some of my habits. So I stopped when actually came to San Francisco last year, just because the people weren’t doing it and picked it up again in Ecuador when the person I was travelling with did.
I was also tracking productivity or trying to. I was using Rescue Time to record the amount of time I spent working on productive activities. And you can kind of see it peeked in Chicago and Austin and Denver. And looking at development tasks in particular, really I was writing a lot of code in Denver, and then it peeks every time I come back to Chicago.
So what this says I work more, not necessarily more productively, I don't know that yet, but I worked more when I'm in Chicago.
So breaking out expenses, this is a year without a home compared to the year before when I did have a home, and obviously I spent zero on rent this year so you can see a lot of that money I was able to allocate to other areas.
So I was spending more on food. I was spending more on travel, and spending more on education like conferences. I went to QS meetups in six different cities and workshops. And in total, I spent $4500 less which was kind of surprising.
Breaking out food on its own, one of the challenges I had was staying healthy. Just because it was difficult, I didn't have a kitchen to cook my own meals most of the time so I spent a lot less on groceries, and I had to eat out a lot more.
So I started relying on new services. This is actually my startup, Factor 75, that I relied on very heavily when I was in the states. And ended up eating 21% of my meals were from our service which was a healthy meal service. So I had to rely on new services like that.
Airbnb’s another example. I never stayed in an AirBnB before, and this year I spent 92 nights in AirBnB. And the same with Uber, over 100 drives this year because I didn’t have my own car or motor transportation.
So it’s just kind of interesting and that was my year in data, and kind of cool to see that some of the risks, some of the concerns I had weren’t as strong as I thought they would be, while other still need to be worked out like productivity.
So thank you very much.